Nutritional Supplement and Feed Compositions to Reduce the Incidence of Osteochondrosis Dissecans Lesions in Genetically Predisposed Foals

The dietary supplement formulation was developed based on an analysis of serum NMR data from yearling Standardbred horses with (green dots) and without (blue dots) OCD that showed the clear difference in metabolic profiles between genetically predisposed and unaffected horses.

Invention Summary:

Rutgers scientists and collaborators at Princeton University have developed a new dietary supplement specifically formulated to reduce the incidence of Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) in genetically predisposed young horses. The dietary supplement was developed based on the results of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR)-based metabonomic studies involving over 200 yearling and weanling Standardbreds. Studies were conducted between 2007 and 2012 to determine whether the development of OCD could be predicted based on metabolic profiles and if the metabolic pathway defects responsible for the lesions could be identified. In all but one study, pairs of horses were matched for sire and similarly bred dams, fed the same ration and in the same environment for their entire lives; one of each of the paired animals displayed no clinical and/or radiographic evidence of OCD and the other had had surgery to correct OCD lesion 1 to 12 months prior to samples being taken. In one study, serum samples taken from 18 nursing foals whose dams had produced OCD-affected offsprings in the past predicted the subsequent development of OCD with > 85% accuracy.

In all studies, there were consistent differences in metabolites between affected and control horses that pointed toward specific metabolic defects that were used to formulate the dietary supplement. The supplement consists of formulations including dihydroascorbate derivatives, Omega-3 fatty acids, and tryptophan. The supplement is currently being tested on mares that had produced OCD foals in the past. 

Market Applications:

  • Horse Feed Supplement to existing feeds
  • Feed Formulations


  • More economical alternative than surgical correction of OCD, which is expensive and result in lower prices for affected horses. 
  • First OCD preventative supplement developed based on observable metabolic differences between normal and OCD horses.
  • The dietary supplement can be given to mares in their late pregnancy and early lactation, as well as to weanling and yearling horses.
  • The supplement is orally administrable and can be given as a supplement to conventional feed or as a complete formulated feed.
  • This highly economical formulation is based upon readily available ingredients. 

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending; this technology is available for licensing and/or sponsorship of future developments.

Patent Information:
Alex Turo
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Animal feed